A unicorn passport, meant as a toy accessory for a nine year old girl’s stuffed animal, apparently passed muster at a Turkish airport. Nicky Harris, mother of 9-year-old Emily, accidentally handed over the stuffed unicorn’s toy passport instead of her daughter’s legitimate passport.
The Turkish customs staff were unfazed by the mixup and allowed the girl through. The official did enquire as to Emily’s age but failed to realize that the passport stamped with gold teddy bears, and of a differing size from the others, was anything but genuine. The passport owed its origin to the Bear Factory and did not derive from the British Government. The passport picture was even of the toy unicorn and still received a stamp of approval.
As they left the customs desk, Emily’s parents went to place their passports back into their bags, saw the unicorn passport, and realized the mistake. Of course, they fully expected to be flagged down by the proper authorities. Their initial worry soon changed to amused relief when they realized that no reprimand was forthcoming.
British government travel advice has currently discouraged all but essential travel to Turkey but still states clearly that all travelers should have valid documents in order to enter the country. The unicorn passport was given the necessary visa treatment. It’s unclear how carefully the Turkish customs officials follow their own rules.
While largely amusing to Emily’s parents, the issue of the unicorn passport does raise important questions, especially with Turkey’s latest descent into civil unrest. If officials can mistake a 9-year-old child for a unicorn, or are simply neglecting security, the hotbed of Istanbul may become that much more hot. It is fortunate that Emily and her family were vacationing before the unrest began.
What other countries do you think would be fooled by the unicorn passport?
[Image Via The Sun]